A dark psychological thriller that will hold the reader in its grip from beginning to end, Silent Playgrounds is the stunning follow-up to Danuta Reah's highly praised debut, Only Darkness.
The path through the park runs from the centre of the city into the wilds of the countryside, winding through old woodland and past the ruined mills that used the river to power the trip hammers and grinding wheels of the steel industry. Now it is a weekend playground for children and walkers, but on weekdays it is silent and deserted.
What starts as a routine missing-child report, when six-year-old Lucy gets lost, ends in the murder of a young woman. Lucy tries to warn the people she cares about of the danger: she knows that there are monsters lurking in the rambling park, and she knows that they are getting closer.
Suzanne Milner, who lives next door to the little girl, is haunted by demons from the past. Through her research at a young offenders' centre, she finds herself reluctantly pulled into the web of fear surrounding the young woman's death. As a potential witness to the crime, she inadvertently directs police attention to one of the offenders with whom she works.
An apparently straightforward crime is turning into something darker, nastier and much more complex, and DI Steve McCarthy has to find his way through a maze of lies and evasions. There are many questions thrown into his path, including the most puzzling: why is Suzanne lying to him? But if he is to prevent an escalation in violence, he has to find some answers - fast.
Danuta Reah lives in Sheffield with her artist husband. She currently works as an education consultant and as a university lecturer in English language.
She is a fan of comics and graphic novels, and in her spare time draws cartoons which have appeared in textbooks and at scientific conferences. She has published textbooks for English Language students. She also writes as Carla Banks.
Only Darkness is her first novel.
Praise for Only Darkness
'Menacing, highly atmospheric thriller. Scary stuff given an extra boost by dark and persuasive psychology in chilly provincial setting where horrible things happen which freeze your blood'
'Dark, edgy and compelling, this is a first novel from a writer to watch'
'Balancing a neighbourly ethos of community with a claustrophobic menace of intrusion [Danuta Reah's] setting becomes as unnerving as any of America's meanest streets'